From: Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford <>
Date: Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:50 PM
Subject: The Bulletin - A Community Update for March 30, 2015

NOTE:  Due to technical difficulties with our email host, this Bulletin could not be mailed at the end of last week.     


The Bulletin - A Community Update for March 30, 2015




Election Day in Israel


My plan to be in Israel last week was made a while back, before the elections were set.  As it turned out, I arrived on that morning and had a chance to experience that special day, something I haven’t done since 1992.  Back then I was not yet an American citizen and went back to vote (for the late Itzhak Rabin). While I can continue to vote in Israel, I no longer do.  I became a US citizen in 1994.  I pay taxes and live here and voting in Israel seems unfair even if it is legal.


That said, I care very much about the outcome.  I took my son to see his grandfather vote and to see the process.  It was a great experience for both.  And then came the surprising exit polls, and the even more surprising morning after.


Grandfather and grandchild vote.

The feeling before the election was that there was a good chance Prime Minister Netanyahu would not get enough votes to form the next government and become prime minister for the FOURTH time.  The shocking outcome was that he did.  President Rivlin assigned him the task today (as required by Israeli law) of forming a new government.  It is expected that he will pull together a coalition of 67 seats from his party and several right, center right and Orthodox parties. 


After Netanyahu had three turns at the job, I was hoping for change. Not because of the politics of right and left but because of my concern for the retention of power in one place for too long.  It is not the best and most democratic option.  Coalitions rarely are.  Yet fully ONE-THIRD of the elected members of the incoming Knesset were not members during the last term.  That is a sea change and a sign of a strong democracy.  Kulanoo, a brand new party that didn’t even exist six months ago, won 10 seats and it is expected that its leader will be given the very important Finance Ministry. 


Arab parties were strengthened too.  The number of seats held by Israeli Arabs, some of whom are openly hostile to Israel, has grown from 10 to 13.  That is a very strong democratic statement.  During election day, Netanyahu broadcast messages of the dangers to Israel from a growing Arab vote.  It was a campaign tactic that proved successful for his outcome, but one he has since apologized for to Israeli Arabs.  Personally I found the apology less than sincere, but the show must and will go on.


The new government will continue to have a strong representation for Orthodox Jews as it has in the past.   In a way, there is not much news there other than the fact that those parties lost five seats (a 27 percent decline).  As they make up 20 percent of the coalition seats, though, their power (and special-interest budget requests) remain as strong as ever.


At the end of the day, a democratic majority has spoken and one has to now hope that the voice of the many new faces around the political table will be heard.  I personally hope that one of the early agenda items will be to repair the relationship with the White House that was weakened in the past few months.


I will be one of many who will surely be watching and will continue to share my thoughts with you in this space.




Spielberg in New Bedford for Our Big May Event



The plans are in place for a super evening at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Nancy Spielberg (sister of) will join us for a screening of her wonderful film Above and Beyond in the Museum’s newly updated theater. The film starts at 7:00 PM with a pre-screening reception and a post-screening Q & A.


The event is free of charge. RSVP to or 508-997-7471. Space is limited. Respond early to secure your seats!

Check out this PREVIEW:



Passover Preparedness

Haggadah Shopping?

If you have a favorite, good for you.  (Maxwell House, anyone?) 

If you are looking for a change, there’s The Wandering Is Over Haggadah at, a fresh, accessible companion for your Seder.  Check it out.


Nosh on This

flourless chocolate-walnut torte recipe – coconut oil.  Wondering if that’s kosher?  Wonder no more.  Kosher.  Copacetic even.  Read here for the skinny on the coconut oil in this Passover-friendly treat.

And guess what else is kosher for Passover (but not nearly as appealing)?  A new spin on gefilte fish – pate!  A spoon full of sugar . . .





Tablet Magazine piece about the history of premium ice cream in this country and the role Jews played in it.  It’s cool.

Read here for more Passover flavors to dish on.



this article from The New Republic, do a blind taste test and decide for yourself. 







Passover Appeal – Last Call!

April 3 will be here before you know it. While you prepare your home for the holiday, we are preparing to distribute Passover provisions to members of the community in need. Thank you in advance for your support. You can make a gift via PayPal at or by responding with the envelope provided in the recent mailing.   


If you or anyone you know would like to be considered for this program, please contact All referrals/inquiries are confidential.




Mary Schwartz’s Denmark 



When she was five years old, Mary Blüm left Denmark with her family for the land of opportunity, America.  Mary, a Federation member and Tifereth Israel congregant, will be 95 years old on May 6.  An active and thoughtful writer still, Mary penned this opinion piece for The Standard-Times following the February terrorist attack in Copenhagen that targeted a synagogue, resulting in the death of a young Jewish man.  Mary’s perspective on anti-Semitism in her home country is worth a read. 



Scholarship Applications Available


Members’ children and grandchildren are encouraged to apply for scholarships from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford and the New Bedford section of the National Council of Jewish Women. If interested, please write to or call 508-997-7471.  




Calendar:  Save the Date

NOTE:  If you would like to attend an event, but need a ride, please contact the Federation to make arrangements.


WHAT:  Claire T. Carney Library Associates’ Ninth Annual Authors’ Brunch and Fundraiser featuring five authors, including Federation member and author of Reclaiming the Feminist Vision, Janet Freedman

WHEN:  Sunday, March 29, 12:00 - 3:00 PM

WHERE:  UMass Dartmouth, Woodland Commons (shuttle service from Parking Lot 7)

WHY:  to benefit the Veterans’ Reading Room

HOW:  $35/ticket  Contact for more information.



WHAT:  Surviving Auschwitz:  A Conversation with a Holocaust Survivor (Esther Bauer)

WHEN:  Thursday, April 9, 4:00 PM

WHERE:  Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River, Jackson Arts Center

HOW:  Open to the public; free admission.  Sponsored by the BCC Holocaust Center and funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.



WHAT:  Nazi Hunter: Simon Wiesenthal

WHEN:  Thursday, April 16 (Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day), 8:00 PM

WHERE:  Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

HOW:  tickets $20.00/$25.00/$29.00 @



WHAT:  pre-performance book club discussion of Branded on My Arm and in My Soul: a Holocaust Memoir by Abraham Landau

WHEN:  Thursday, April 16, 6:00 PM

WHERE:  Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

HOW:  Free and open to the public.



WHAT:  American Red Cross Blood Drive

WHEN:  Sunday, May 17, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

WHERE:  Tifereth Israel

HOW:  Registration details will be provided soon.




Shabbat Shalom,


 The Bulletin is a weekly email from Amir Cohen, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford.  I welcome your feedback at